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Spencer Dinwiddie was the spark the Dallas Mavericks needed

The Dallas guard gave the team new life

2022 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

In the summer of 2021, then Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie signed a three year $62 million deal with the Washington Wizards as part of a trade that ended up being pretty complicated.

Coming off an ACL tear, Dinwiddie did not play well to open the season in Washington; he shot a terrible 37.6% from the floor and looked totally out of sorts. Things between he and other teammates quickly soured. The Wizards were then open to moving him for Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis before the trade deadline in the spring of 2022.

In the 23 games to end the regular season, Dinwiddie played like a new man, shooting nearly 50% from the field and looking like the additional playmaker the Mavericks needed all season. His 16 points and nearly 4 assists helped push the Mavericks to a four seed in the Western Conference.

Though his playoff performance was a mixed bag of highs and lows, ultimately he help the Mavericks advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the 2011 season, with huge closeout performances against the Jazz and the Suns.

Best game

In an early March game against the Sacramento Kings, Dinwiddie got a chance to start with Luka Doncic missing the contest. He responded with a season high 36 points, including 13 trips to the free throw line and seven assists. It was the kind of performance that gives fans hope for a long time after, as he looked in command of the entire basketball game.

Contract details

Thank goodness CBAMavs covered all of this here, because it’s really confusing when doing research. He technically has a partially guaranteed year for his third year of the contract, but it’s based off games played and unless he suffers another terrible injury, his third year of his deal will become fully guaranteed. He’ll be making about $18 million next year and have a cap hit just above $20 million in 2023-24. He’s got a lot of weird contract incentives as well that could boost his total earnings.

Looking ahead

It’s hard to find fault in what Spencer contributed to the Maverick season. Considering our take here at Mavs Moneyball was that Dallas was taking a step back with that trade to take an eventual step forward, asking for more from Dinwiddie seems unreasonable.

And yet there’s potential for improvement just through familiarity of role. He, Jalen Brunson, and Doncic all play similar roles, only each has different strengths and weaknesses. Dinwiddie could stand to improve on defense; his length is an asset and he got burned a lot in the playoffs with bad footwork and reliance on help defense.

Past that, he’s officially Jalen Brunson insurance should something go awry there with contract negotiations. He’s shown he can run the team in Doncic’s absence and another summer of strengthening his knee can only be for the good. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

Grade: A-

Just a shockingly good season for Dallas from a player I’d all but written off before the trade. How does he top it next season? We’ll have to wait and see.